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Depression
(PS003)

Introduction


Depression, which may represent either a temporary mental state, or a chronic mental disorder, is characterized by feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, low self-esteem, guilt and withdrawal from social contact.

Depression will affect one third of adults in the United States sometime during their lives. At any given time, 5% of adults are depressed, with women being three times likely as men to suffer depression. Although the median age of onset of depression is 25 years, the initial episode can occur at any age.

Most persons who experience depressive symptoms have a minor depression. Fortunately, almost all sufferers recover completely from a single episode of depression. Major depression is a recurrent disorder, and the risk of further episodes increases with each subsequent episode. Depression is a significant risk factor for suicide among men and women, young and old.

Depression is thought to be due to a deficiency in one or more of three chemicals (neurotransmittors) in the brain called monoamines: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Most cases of depression are best treated with a combination of medication and psychological counseling or psychotherapy. Pharmacological approaches attempt to correct the chemical imbalance that is causing the depression. Treatment usually consists of medications and psychotherapy. Severe cases may warrant electroconvulsive therapy.

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The Medifocus Guide on Depression provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:


What Your Doctor Reads:


This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:


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